For the future of Sun Valley
Becoming Mrs. Santa Claus
A Christmas Eve Disclosure
Christmas Eve, the loneliest and longest night of the year for me. He’ll stay out all night again. My friends warned me, but I didn’t listen. They still can’t believe I married someone I met at the mall, hardly knew and moved to the far north with him.
His family calls it “tradition.” It’s quite different from my family’s Christmas traditions. Tonight, my married children and grandchildren will attend a Christmas Eve candle-lighting service with their families at their home church in Idaho. Afterward, they’ll go home for gift opening with punch and cookies. Tomorrow they’ll over indulge on a big family dinner. Year after year they follow these same family traditions, which I taught them.
I glance out the window at the soft falling snow. I was used to snow in Idaho, but not year-round except, perhaps on the mountaintops. The magnitude of it up here is sometimes overwhelming and it blankets everything. I have to admit it is beautiful.
I’m feeling a little homesick tonight. What can I do to pass the hours away? I scan our videos. I know. I’ll watch the video he gave me for my birthday. That should help.
We both worked at a Boise, Idaho, mall the year we met in early December. I had been a widow three years and though I didn’t need to work financially, I just needed contact with people other than my children. When I went to work part-time as a clerk in a greeting card store it gave me a new outlook on life. And then I met him. He, too, was widowed and confessed how lonely he had been.
His fashionable clothing certainly wasn’t the attraction. Although his clothes were custom made and he always dressed neatly, the style or color never varied. His black boots shone until they actually mirrored my reflection. Even with shoulder-length hair, full beard and mustache, he was perfectly groomed. He told me he wore the beard and long hair to protect him from the extreme cold up north.
His twinkling blue eyes caught my attention right away. Few people possess his magnetism and people of all ages were instantly attracted to him.
The first week we met we had lunch at the mall’s food court. The lunch hours passed too swiftly. Time ran out before we could finish our conversations. I learned a lot about him that first week.
The second week we continued daily lunches and he invited me to a movie. That’s when we began getting serious. The only word that comes to mind to explain our attraction to each other is one Disney coined in the film Bambi, “twitterpated.” Our rela-tionship quickly spun into a whirlwind courtship. By the third week I took him to meet my children. He charmed them just as he had me.
His family of Norwegian descent follows a tradition of passing down their busi-ness from father to son. His temporary work at the mall took care of one end of the busi-ness. He took a lot of orders there. Now he had to return farther north for Christmas. I hated to see him go, but he promised he’d be back to celebrate New Year’s Eve with me.
He kept his promise and returned with a beautiful engagement ring. He took my breath away when he, romantically, got down on his knees to propose. I quickly accepted. I couldn’t have been happier as we set the wedding date for Valentine’s Day.
My friends were in shock. Labeled, “The Sensible One,” they didn’t expect such rash behavior from me.
“You’re actually going to marry someone you hardly know whom you met at the mall?”
“Do you really want to move up north?”
“Are you out of your mind?”
Sometimes I felt they were just envious because of my jubilance. In spite of their misgivings when they saw my determination to marry him, they pitched in to help with the wedding. I could never have put it all together is six short weeks without them. My dearest friends who helped with the wedding got into the spirit of the occasion and turned to friendly banter. “You’ll be known as the frozen Mock Orange up north,” one of them said.
What a beautiful Valentine’s Day wedding! Maybe it was silly, but I wore the tra-ditional white satin gown and carried a bouquet of red roses. After all, this was a new beginning for me. My daughters, as my attendants, wore red velvet, full length dresses and each carried a single white rose. Everyone remarked that the contrast of the red and white produced a dramatic effect and our wedding photos were spectacular. It seems like only yesterday even though it’s been years.
The increase in volume of the musical finale of the video brought me out of my reverie. I had missed most of it.
It’s late Christmas Eve now and I might as well go to bed. I’ll need to rise early. He’ll expect a hearty breakfast when he gets home in the wee morning hours. He’ll still be exuberant. We’ll need to open our gifts immediately after breakfast, before he winds down and conks out on the sofa. At least I know what to expect every year. I just wish I weren’t so lonely.
Why am I complaining and having this pity party? Shame, shame on me. Plenty of women would gladly exchange places with me. I’m married to the most lovable, gen-erous and popular man on earth. I’ll thrill at the sight of my red and white suited man coming home. Spending a lonely Christmas Eve is a small price to pay for the privilege of being Mrs. Santa Claus all year.